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2010-05-10 19:21:32

Text Messaging and Today's Real Estate Professional


I am quickly approaching my 10 th Anniversary of working with REALTORS and I have lived through many technology changes. I can remember back in 2001 telling agents "If you don't email, you will be limiting your business". I had agents argue that email was a passing fade and wasn't here to stay.
In 2005, I started telling agents the Smartphone will become a major part on the way business is conducted, and many said they were completely happy with the flip phone. In 2006, I stated if you don't use text messaging you will lose a certain amount of clients, and again folks argued with me. Well guess what, today when I ask a group of Realtors "how many have worked with clients using text messages", thre e quarters of the room raise there hands.
With this dramatic increase in agents texting clients we need to find ways to document the conversations and protect all parties involved. I always suggest to an agent early on; when texting a client include all the information required by local state for electronic media such as name, company name, phone numbers etc. In my humble option I look at text messaging as a thread with a certain person much like an email we keep sending back and forth.
By including your information once you have advised your client of the information required in most states. Don't subpoena me as I will crumble on the stand!
Next, as we find ourselves texting more and emailing less we need to save these text messages in a format that could be printed and brought to closing, and saved in the closed file. If you're like me I scroll back through hundreds of text messages looking for that certain tidbit of information. One big factor when shopping for Smartphone's should be does your phone save all your text messages exchanged by you and each party you are texting. Not all phones do that. With many of us using text for business it should be on your short list of requirements.
Had a great story in one of my seminars; I will pass along his handy idea. An agent was working with a buyer who preferred most of their communication to be done by text. He got the idea to copy and pastes the "text conversation" into a Microsoft Word Document allowing him to document the flow of information. Then, when the contract closed he could print the entire text message conversation and put it in the closed file along with his other documentation. It was simple to do, so he starting doing it for all of his clients. At a recent closing, a buyer questioned why he had not been told something; the agent was able to pull out the printed Word document and highlight the conversation which included the buyer acknowledging the information in question.
I highly suggest each agent using text to work with a client learn how to keep a copy of all text messages on a computer or convert to a printed document. For the sake of keeping this article smaller then a book please go to Google and search with the following phrase; copy text messages from (type of phone). I did it for many of the most common phones and found all kinds of freeware or very inexpensive programs that convert text to documents. The old Palm OS had it for years, and the new Pre has the same feature; however, they did not include time and date stamps. Not real happy with that fact.
For more on Smart Phones, visit the Outsmart Your Smart Phone Group on RealTown.

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